Everyone wants to be able to trust their doctor. Unfortunately, doctors are human, just like everyone else. Typically, you would not associate legal problems with medical decisions, but sometimes, they do intersect. A woman in Ohio filed a lawsuit against two doctors for allegedly misdiagnosing her baby.
She claims that her child was misdiagnosed with shaken baby syndrome. She states in her complaint that her daughter was born five weeks prematurely and that during the birth the attending doctor used a vacuum extractor. The vacuum extractor is used to suction babies out of the birth canal. According to the suit, the problem with vacuum extractors, and the reason they are not used in premature births, is because they can cause intracranial damage.
The mother began noticing developmental problems and frequently visited her pediatrician. The pediatrician discovered fluid buildup in the cranium, and the child was admitted to the hospital for surgery. It was at the hospital that a medical resident and supervising doctor determined that the cause of the injuries was shaken baby syndrome. They reported the mother to Child Services who promptly removed both of her children from her care.
It took nine months for the mother to get the abuse complaint dismissed. She alleges that the misdiagnosis led to her parental rights being terminated. She was able to produce six expert witnesses, including the premier expert on shaken baby syndrome, who all disagreed with the diagnosis.
This story illustrates the hidden dangers in a misdiagnosis. Doctors have enormous responsibilities to their patients and their families. Sometimes, this responsibility can lead a doctor, or two, to allegedly misdiagnose a patient. If you believe that a doctor may have misdiagnosed you or a family member, then you may want to consult with a lawyer. As demonstrated above, these misdiagnoses can result in unforeseen consequences.
Source: ABA Journal, "Lawyer uses docs over shaken-baby diagnosis, state for taking away her kids," Debra Cassens Weiss, Jan. 25, 2016